Andy Fickman Discusses Adapting the Popular Film 'Heathers: The Musical'

Andy Fickman Discusses Adapting the Popular Film 'Heathers: The Musical' ...

The stage play Heathers: The Musical, directed by Andy Fickman, takes viewers into the world of Westerberg High, where Veronica Sawyer (Ailsa Davidson) transforms from being a mediocre person to wildly popular thanks to the wonderful but undeniably cruel Heathers (with Maddison Firth as Heather Chandler, Vivian Panka as Heather Duke, and Teleri Hughes as Heather McNamara) who quickly realizes that her dreams of being popular are more than

Fickman discussed the process of turning Heathers, a beloved and highly quotable 1988 film, into a stage musical, the inspiration and love that they have received from the creative team behind the film, how he finds the right cast to help pull this off, and what it's like to see the stage show grow so popular next.

Collider: You have directed several movies, you have directed a lot of television, and you directed Reefer Madness: The Musical. What made Heathers: The Musical the next logical step in all of that?

ANDY FICKMAN: The film is my favorite. Dan Waters wrote a fantastic script, Michael Lehmann directed a brilliant film, and Denise Di Novi produced it. We just love the reaction from fans, from L.A. to New York, to our experiences in London since 2017, and we're so grateful for it.

Not all movies last the same, but many of Heathers' themes are still so relatable today. What makes Heathers special to you?

FICKMAN: Dan really tapped into it, and everything has remained the same. Every time you hear a show, you deal with sadness, you deal with disappointment, you deal with cliques in high school, and you deal with where you are on the hierarchy. That's how people relate to you. It's the message.

The musical has been around for a long time, and it sounds like you were planning on it and working on it for some time before. How much did it change and evolve over the years, or were changes mostly related to the musical?

FICKMAN: What's great about evolving a musical is that audiences give you a lot of information. We moved to New York and started working on something new. We also started adding an 11 oclock number for Veronica that nobody in the United States ever saw before, with the name We Say No. Duke had this wonderful Never Shut Up Again number that we just started last week at The Other Palace. We'll continue to improve it as we learn more.

Did you ever receive any feedback from Dan Waters that may have aided in the shaping of any of this?

FICKMAN: Dan Waters, Michael Lehmann, and Denise Di Novi have been our heroes from the start. Winona [Ryder] saw it in Los Angeles. Christian Slater saw it in New York. Lisanne Falk, who plays Heather McNamara, lives in the United Kingdom and is our UK godmother who travels there every day. I believe that the original script and the original creative team have been equally responsible for every component of Heathers.

Winona Ryder and Christian Slater's reaction to it was depressing.

FICKMAN: Winona was incredible. Everyone in the cast was emotional. After her, Dan Waters came up to us and she said, "I told her, Tomorrow, it will be in the show and it will never come out." Christian was equally supportive in that moment. We snuck him into the theater to see "Heads: The Musical."

Heathers was a quotable subject for me, and I still remember all of the ones, to this day. Quotes like, I love my dead gay son, or Dear diary, my teen bullshit now has a body count, or Fuck me gently with a chainsaw, do not appear immediately translatable to a musical. How was it possible to maintain that dialogue and those quotable moments?

FICKMAN: The Rocky Horror Picture Show was always our inspiration. It was the show that I grew up loving. Dan Waters had created a mythical language of his own creation. We cant get enough of it. Now, we open Act Two with it. The majority of the audience has never seen the movie before.

Winona and Christian both were well-known as Veronica and J.D., but all of the actors played the Heathers, Kurt and Ram, and Martha were equally well-known. What was it like to have a cast that lived up to that?

FICKMAN: When we started our readings in Los Angeles, Kristen Bell was our first Veronica. She had done Reefer Madness with Kevin and I. We were blessed that we could have wonderful actors. From the start, we had Carrie Hope Fletcher, Jamie Muscato, and Jodie Steele as our first actors. We were fortunate that we could pick up the crop in London. We take a lot of pride in our casting, that the Heathers family is strong.

No one anticipated how the Heathers film would stay going, but you could have also not predicted how Heathers: The Musical would be received. What does it feel like to witness the life that this musical has lived?

FICKMAN: There is so much joy in knowing that people are still coming to see us every Saturday night at midnight, and they cheer on the new cast members, and it really touches you. Also, many individuals write to us, email us, and talk to the cast. If you can find a place that will help people and still entertain them, I'll take it.

Is there another film that you'd like to see made into a musical?

FICKMAN: I am currently working on transforming 13 Going on 30 into a musical, and I am having the time of my life doing that.

I'll be very excited for this other film, which I love.

FICKMAN: Josh [Goldsmith] and Cathy [Yuspa], who wrote the original script for the film, are writing the book. Zachary and Weiner, who performed First Date, are doing the music and lyrics. Were full throttle ahead, and we were enthralled.

The Roku Channel has provided a stream of Heathers: The Musical.